Firearm Forums - Arms Locker banner
1 - 20 of 232 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,944 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was out hiking again this weekend, kind of uneventful and mentally refreshing, been too busy in the last month to do too much outdoors stuff. Did manage to kill a rattlesnake with a rock (hand thrown, no slingshot involved :) ), and found a large patch of cactus apples well away from the paved road. There were hundreds of them. It's one of the biggest wild patches I'd seen in a while.

You try to avoid harvesting wild plants at least within the first 50ft of a well traveled road. Some people do 50 yards, but 50ft is probably OK. It's the [email protected] in car exhaust, the heavier and nastier stuff lands near the road and gets on and in the plants.

Cactus apples are also known as the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. They are about the size of a large hen's egg and they taste a lot like a raspberry. They have spines on the skin and large seeds in the center that are reminiscent of a pomegranate. The juice is beet red, thick and sweet.

Prickly pear cactus fruit have gotten to be quite the delicacy amongst many gourmets in the world. Here they grow wild and sometimes in great big juicy bunches. The Spanish liked them so much that centuries ago they exported the prickly pear cactus back to the old world and you can now find it growing in several countries, like Morocco.

Many species of cactus have delicious fruit. But some, like the saguaro, are hard to get to, being way at the top, especially before the birds get them. You can knock them down with a long pole, like a skeleton tube from the husk of a dead saguaro, or a long agave stalk, from what some call a 'century plant'. Mature, dry agave stalks make great walking sticks and shelter poles. It's strong and very light, what some refer to as desert bamboo.

To harvest food plants in the desert, I carry a pair of long barbecue tongs. The inexpensive steel kind with a spring loaded hinge and spoon shaped ends work great. In the desert, they are mandatory and essential gear. A long knife also helps. This is one of the reasons I carry a khukuri. In the desert you need something that has some reach. A machete can come in handy. When I rehaft my Norlund, I'll use a longer handle and it'll probably see more use. I was also carrying a plastic bucket to bring the fruit home in.

To eat a cactus apple, one convenient way to do it in the field is to spear it with a regular sized dinner fork. While you are holding it with the fork, you slice the ends off and peel the spine laden skin off with a very sharp knife. I also eat them at home like that. Some people take them home and make jellies, syrups, and jams out of them while blanching the skin off with boiling water.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 41mag

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,279 Posts
Hmmm, those cactus apples sound good. Wonder how they would be with whipped cream. Glad you had a good time.

RIKA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,944 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rika, typical uneventful hike in the desert, except for the motherload of fruit.Maybe give those who've never been out here an idea of what it's like.

Rich, there are some things in this world which are open season 24/7/365. Amongst these are rattlesnakes, toothed sharks, scorpions, black widow spiders, and commies.

This is the SW desert, we have NO shortage of rattlesnakes. Matter of fact, we have enough that we can send you some if you want. Find a rattlesnake in your house sometime and you'll see what I mean.

Every rattler you whack is one less you might run into on the way back. Yes, I've heard all of the ecology buffs talk about the poor misunderstood rattler, the same as they talk about the couger, etc. It's been my observation that most eco-types have never had to live in an area infested with them. Your typical ecofreak will never be happy till we're all walking around with bugs in our hair.

Rattlers breed fast enough, you'll never eradicate them, but you can thin out the herd whenever possible.

BTW, just killed a 3" scorpion that was in my living room. He's now just as dead as that rattlesnake.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,890 Posts
Did ya get him with a rock (the scorpion) or did ya break out the slingshot? :dgrin:

Do you eat the rattlers? They're stink nasty to clean, but pretty tasty. not great, more like self-propelled SPAM. . .
 
  • Like
Reactions: 41mag

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,014 Posts
mrostov said:
Rich, there are some things in this world which are open season 24/7/365. Amongst these are rattlesnakes, toothed sharks, scorpions, black widow spiders, and commies.

This is the SW desert, we have NO shortage of rattlesnakes. Matter of fact, we have enough that we can send you some if you want. Find a rattlesnake in your house sometime and you'll see what I mean.

Every rattler you whack is one less you might run into on the way back. Yes, I've heard all of the ecology buffs talk about the poor misunderstood rattler, the same as they talk about the couger, etc. It's been my observation that most eco-types have never had to live in an area infested with them. Your typical ecofreak will never be happy till we're all walking around with bugs in our hair.

Rattlers breed fast enough, you'll never eradicate them, but you can thin out the herd whenever possible.

BTW, just killed a 3" scorpion that was in my living room. He's now just as dead as that rattlesnake.

....and the people who kill all the snakes they see usually turn out to be nothing more than ignorant turds in my experience. I'm not calling you one specifically, of course.

Here is how I think of it: if you don't appreciate all of nature as a system, keep your butt in the city "where you must think you belong." Don't try to turn the city into nature! Otherwise, you are just PLAYING the outdoor type.

Your post is full of wrong assumptions about rattlesnake biology, but it seems that you could obviously care less, so I won't go into it and waste my time. Maybe you'll get sick one day from a mouse-transmitted disease. Wouldn't that be ironic?

...and before you start calling me an eco-freak, I'm not. I hunt a LOT. I will even kill an occasional rattlesnake for food because I enjoy the taste. (I don't do it much any more because of skewed population structure considerations, but that is another tale - and because I don't live where one occurs that can be legally harvested any more.) I just hate to see ignorance and waste.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 41mag

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,152 Posts
We have a problem with rattlers up here also, some idiot had them declared as an "endangered species" or something. Not likely! Probably some city dweller eco type that had nothing else to do that month. Fortunately they don't feel the same way about Black Widow spiders.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 41mag

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,944 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Kjun, I'll let slide the accusation of ignorance, etc. Like a lot of people who get upset at the locals killing rattlers out here, you probably don't live out here so I'll let it slide on the fact that you just don't live here.

Personally I think it's severely lacking in experience with diamondback rattlesnakes and the desert that people want to treat them like a hummingbird or some other harmless part of the environment.

BTW, You said that my post was full of 'wrong assumptions about rattlesnake biology'. Actually my post didn't say jack about the biology of diamondbacks. I just said that they are a target of opportunity, and they are. I know a lot about diamondback biology, and I'll still kill one without remorse or apology.

Yeah, if it's big enough, I'll keep it and eat it, snake tastes good. But, then again, there's a lot of buzzards out here that need to eat too. The small ones are dangerous too you know.

There's a difference in philosophy. IMHO, man is not a separate observer of nature, but a functioning part of it. I am the top predator in the food chain and I do not tolerate that which can kill me with swiftness and ease. I kill it first.

You've obviously never gotten up in the morning and found a rattler in your kitchen. No, you don't have to be hiking to run into a diamondback in Arizona.

I know the difference between the types of snakes and I don't kill all snakes. We have DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKES coming out of our ass out here. As I said, we'll never kill them all, but the herd needs thinning a bit.

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake has the highest fatality rate of any snake in N. America.

In case you've forgotten, diamondbacks are deadly, lethal, i.e. they can kill you. They are very distinctive. I've been hiking and hunting in the desert since I was a kid. I KNOW what a deadly snake is and what isn't.

Now, you can let rattlers go, maybe let one bite and kill your kid, your pet, you, but there's a reason people who LIVE in the desert for generations have killed diamondbacks when they can.

Did you know that in some areas of the desert we have a special rattler that's about as deadly as a cobra? It's called a Mojave Green. It uses a special neuro-toxin venom. You get bit by one of those, scribble a good-bye note as fast as you can because you'll never make it to help.

There's a difference between a harmless garden snake, like those on your site, and one that can just flat out kill you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,944 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Garand said:
Fortunately they don't feel the same way about Black Widow spiders.
Give them time.........

MagnumBBC said:
Did ya get him with a rock (the scorpion) or did ya break out the slingshot?
Sandal :)

MagnumBBC said:
Do you eat the rattlers? They're stink nasty to clean, but pretty tasty. not great, more like self-propelled SPAM. . .
If they are big enough, otherwise the birds and bugs get a feast. The birds kill a fair number of snakes out here, including rattlers. I actually don't normally hunt just for sport unless it's rodents.

I don't look upon killing rattlesnakes as hunting for pleasure or sport, just a chore that needs doing when you run across one.

I live outside of town and we had snakes and rodents both. When I got rid of the rodents, the snakes quit coming around - mostly. Rodent eradication is what hungry stray cats are for. In this section of Arizona, there are estimated to be upwards of 1 million stray cats, many of whom are as wild as any bobcat. By placing food out, just enough to keep them fed but still a tad hungry, a small tribe of them have settled here.

Also, in case of someone accusing me of having an irrational fear of snakes, I used to keep non-venomous snakes as pets from an early age. I'll still kill a diamondback without remorse or hesitation.
 

·
Site Founder
Joined
·
4,814 Posts
Actually, here in North Flordia we have our own diamondbacks. No big deal, though. We leave them be, and they leave us be. My feelings are that they were here long before we decided to build our house in their territory, so they have every right to be here. I have found them to be remarkably pacid as long as you don't frighten or anger them. I have found several of them that had decided to take up residence in areas I didn't want them to be, so I simply placed them in a five gallon bucket and relocated them out in the national forest.

Basically for someone to go out into the wilderness and kill them just because they happen across them, is basically criminal. Reminds me of the story I heard a long while ago about some woman suing a national park because she got bitten by a copperhead while walking there. Well, DUH! If you want a park without the wildlife, go walk through some downtown area instead.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,279 Posts
One of the guys killed a copperhead at the range recently. The snake chased him. Some of those fellas are aggressive.

RIKA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
179 Posts
Snakes

I grew up in the swamps where there are probably more SPA(snakes per acre) than anywhere else, deadly and non-deadly snakes. Down there many people kill just about every snake they can easily get to just from habit. Now that I know a bit more about ecology and living in an environment I don't even kill the poisonous ones. Of course, I have guineas, and they do kill small snakes when they find them. When they find a larger snake they usually just chase it off the property. I've also seen roadrunners hanging around my property, and they are snake hunters, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,014 Posts
On second though, I removed this one to replace it with something else....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,014 Posts
Raider said:
One of the guys killed a copperhead at the range recently. The snake chased him. Some of those fellas are aggressive.
"Funny" story. I was at the pistol range shooting about 2 months ago. I saw some big disturbance over by the rifle range. Someone found a snake above the door of the ladies restroom. The disturbance was the 6 grown men trying to kill what they thought was a cottonmouth. I walked over to see if it was one, but it was just a poor, cut-up Texas ratsnake. I reached down and grabbed it to finish it off (it was hit a few times with a hoe and NOT in good shape). The old bastiches started yelling that it was a cottonmouth. I got mad, bet them $100 on the spot it wasn't, and one idiot took the bet. I let the thing chew on my hand as I killed it to prove it was harmless. Dumb idiots didn't deserve the right to be out at a publixc range if you ask me.

...and I never got paid for winning the bet. Matter of fact, they got mad at me for proving them wroing in front of the "ladies."

KJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,014 Posts
mrostov said:
Did you know that in some areas of the desert we have a special rattler that's about as deadly as a cobra? It's called a Mojave Green. It uses a special neuro-toxin venom. You get bit by one of those, scribble a good-bye note as fast as you can because you'll never make it to help
Until you are posing a lepidus west of Terlingua for a naturalistic photo near the TeePees on a "bad" section of the border on a moonless night watching the Marfa lights in the background, don't tell ME about how to live with Hots.

.....and assuming you mean an actual Mohave Rattlesnake, the venom concentration is extremely variable, or so some incomplete research has indicated, from population to population, so be careful what you state as a definitive fact.

By the way, saying a snake in the woods that MIGHT kill someone should be stopped is just like saying you shouldn't be able to own a semi-auto rifle because someone MIGHT use it to kill someone else. There are MORE venomous snakes in the US than guns and MORE people are killed with guns than by snakes....so saying it is right to kill venomous snakes because they MIGHT or COULD kill someone isn't in line with how most of us feel about other things, is it?

Like with guns, the answer is education, tolerance, and an understanding of the true danger and the true benefits of why that danger can be lived with and should be accepted.

KJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,014 Posts
mrostov said:
Rodent eradication is what hungry stray cats are for. In this section of Arizona, there are estimated to be upwards of 1 million stray cats, many of whom are as wild as any bobcat. By placing food out, just enough to keep them fed but still a tad hungry, a small tribe of them have settled here.
With no concern for the effect of stray cats on native species of lizards and, MAINLY, birds? Geez, I hope this is a joke.

Feral cats are one of the biggest problems hitting many of our avian species right now....and you are promoting actions to make the situation worse?

Well, when "they damn up that last river to make one more reservoir" and the world is all covered in pavement, you won't have to worry about snakes or any k-selected species, or native avians requiring expanses of natural late successional stage habitat, everything will be better then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,683 Posts
hmmmm.,wine.....brandy......Here's an evil thought....Hybrid Peyote and Prickly pear.......fruit from the Tree of Life?.......or how about prickly pear and agave.......Tequila with something extra?..... :beer:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,279 Posts
Gripper, you're a man after my own heart. Well, except for the peyote. :D

RIKA
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,890 Posts
Well, last 2 rattlers I killed were coiled up, just off the back patio. That's just an invasion of my space. If you thnk I'm a criminal for it, so be it. Doesn't stop the falcons around here from grabbing any snake (or rodent) that's in its territory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
I was raised to eat EVERY thing I killed, BIRD, FISH ,DEER .....etc if my folks found that I killed a animal that was not at the time attacking me and dint use the meat they would probably take all my guns!!! I FIND IT SICK THAT YOU KILL A SNAKE JUST CUZ ITS THERE. I have got in more fights at my school over people trying to kill snakes that I wont to remember!! You call your selves woodsmen and such and then destroy the very thing you say you love THE WOODS. sorry to step on every ones toes but I feel very strongly about this. I keep many snakes as pets and I would bet the have more morals that most of the people trying to kill them. I am not a tree hugger, I hunt and fish. If I kill a animal I EAT it period. I love snakes but I killed a snake once, wanted to see how the meat tasked. (don’t care much for it though) BUT I DID NOT WASTE IT. My hands a shaking im so mad, I get this mad over any one killing any animal with out using it.

I know I have just offended a lot of people but I don’t care, and you will note that I don’t post this as Unregistered. so if you decide you don’t wana read what I wrote place me on IGNOR. trust me I wont lose any sleep over it. I do not wish to insult any one just speak my mind. I have a right to do that.

Peace
 
  • Like
Reactions: KJUN
1 - 20 of 232 Posts
Top